Monday, February 21, 2022

February 21 - Review Sold Out! Vol. 12

The Pyramid import label continued the ‘Sold Out!’ 8mm fan footage DVD series in 2022 with volume 12. And while most fans are still waiting on their copy the label already announced volume 13. It's getting harder to keep up!


The fans of this series know what to expect after 11 volumes, and this 12th installment in the series is no different: a glossy digi-pack with a good picture of Elvis on a black background. 

Inside interesting liner-notes by Mindi Miller, sharing memories of being on the road with Elvis as his girlfriend. She describes Elvis as a real southern gentleman who knows how he likes his women to look and behave, and that he expects them to act accordingly. But is also gracious, comporting and helpful when needed. 


After a short intro-segment of Elvis arriving at Seattle Airport April 1976, the first disc contains four nice 20 minute segments. 

The November 1971 Kansas City and Tuscaloosa footage is basically the same material as released on the 'The Boston Garden Revisited' DVD. The quality of the footage is pretty good, the audience-recorded audio is a bit in the back. The Tuscaloosa material is darker than the Kansas City material.

But it is pleasure to watch him rock the stage during 'Proud Mary' in Kansas or 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' in Tuscaloosa. And did I mention those gyrating hips during ‘One Night’ on the latter show? Great footage! This is the kind of material that makes this series worth wile. 

On to Hawaii, the November 18, 1972 footage (19 minutes) illustrates that Elvis stage performance didn't really change that much, and neither did his suit. You might say that physically he was looked less involved, kind-of going through the motions already. The camera is steady, showing Elvis center-stage, but the footage is not better than we’ve seen before. 

DVD’s like this one add these kind of insights to the shows we “only” know from pictures and CDs. Just compare these performances with the 1971 material on this disc from just a year earlier. 

The first disc ends with very grainy footage from February 22, 1977. Although a bit hard to watch as Elvis hardly moves. Just watching him sing 'Jailhouse Rock' is painful, he is not even a shadow of the performer he once was. Fortunately we also see that there is still life in our man when he sings 'You Gave Me A mountain' and even more on 'Hurt' which he sings with passion. 

Watching these shows, you also see the difference with more modern shows, using light and other effects. Where we got some colored lights and backgrounds in 'Elvis: That's The Way It Is', here it is really Elvis, backed by the band, the orchestra and backing groups, who carries the show. When the flashlights go off we see a little more of the stage, but overall this kind of footage remains a bit dark. Mainly due to the filming conditions and quality of the (amateur) equipment sneaked in by the fans. 

The second disc opens in Houston 1970 where we see Elvis as one of the headliners for the Livestock Show and Rodeo at the Houston Astrodome, opening with cowboy showing how they handle and race their horses and carriages. Nicely setting the scene. Elvis preformed on a rotating stage, in the middle of the stadium and without an orchestra. Both must have been weird. I do wonder why the producers didn’t add audio to this chapter as 14 minutes of silent footage is way too long for my liking. 

From there we jump forward in time to 1977. Starting with 33 minutes of unseen and pretty decent footage from Alexandria, showing Elvis more up close and personal doing many almost complete songs including ‘If You Love Me Let Me Know’ and ‘Early Morning Rain’. The sound isn't good unfortunately. The highlight from this chapter chapter must be the Gospel section where we see Elvis singing with the Stamps. 

This is followed by footage from Rochester (13 minutes), Cincinnati (9 plus 6 minutes) and Indianapolis (7 minutes). I wonder what the members of the band thought about Elvis decline at the time, when they saw him perform and shuffle around the stage … they were about the same age and took (better) care of their business. The audience didn’t seem to mind listening to their response to Elvis' every move. 

In Rochester he looked a bit better, it almost looked like he also moved above the knees, but it remains sad to watch. ‘Johnny Be Goode’ actually has some energy, but he surely doesn’t slide over the podium like Chuck Berry’s original or Michael J. Fox in ‘Back To The Future’. Now was that not something I expected to see here, but a little movement from that legendary pelvis would have been nice. 

New for me was ‘School Days’ where it looks like he is directing the brass section of the orchestra, with his back to the audience. Again it’s ‘Hurt’ that saves the show.  The fan who filmed the Rochester show had a steadier hand than the fan filming Alexandria. 

The footage from Cincinnati is a secondary source and mainly fragments, but using different angles as slightly better sound help create a more dynamic presentation. I wonder if the producers ever considered making some kind of clip or compilation video when they only have fragments to work with. The Indianapolis segment illustrates that better sound has a positive effect on the presentation of this kind of material. In the end, we’re in it for the music! 

The highlight of the second Cincinnati segment for me is ‘Unchained Melody’ sung by Elvis at the piano. Although mostly filmed from a distance and just one close-up, this performance still gets to me. 


Another interesting footage compilation, some in better video and audio quality. The first disc was the most entertaining one on this set, with Kansas City as the highlight. 

From the second disc I found the footage from Alexandria the most interesting to watch, and ‘Unchained Melody’ from Cincinnati the most touching performance. The remaining material is reference material for me.